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Portal:Geography

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Introduction

Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Geography (from Greek: γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

Geography is often defined in terms of two branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.

True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.

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Caroline Island
Caroline Island is the easternmost of the uninhabited coral atolls which comprise the southern Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. First sighted by Europeans in 1606, claimed by United Kingdom in 1868, and part of the Republic of Kiribati since the island nation's independence in 1979, Caroline Island has remained relatively untouched and is considered one of the world's most pristine tropical islands, despite guano mining, copra harvesting, and human habitation in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is home to one of the world's largest populations of the coconut crab and is an important breeding site for seabirds, most notably the Sooty Tern. The atoll is best known for its role in celebrations surrounding the arrival of the year 2000 – a 1995 realignment of the International Date Line made Caroline Island the easternmost land west of the Date Line and therefore one of the first points of land on earth to see sunrise in the year 2000.

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Amundsen's party at the South Pole, December 1911

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Hesse, Germany

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Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of natural selection which prompted Charles Darwin to publish on his own theory. Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the Wallace Line that divides Indonesia into two distinct parts, one with animals more closely related to those of Australia and the other with animals more closely related to those found in Asia. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography". Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century who made a number of other contributions to the development of evolutionary theory besides being co-discoverer of natural selection. These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect, a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridization. An account of his observations, The Malay Archipelago, is regarded as probably the best of all journals of scientific exploration published during the 19th century.

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The Horn (Mount Buffalo)
Credit: John O'Neill

The Horn is the most prominent peak on the Mount Buffalo plateau in Victoria, Australia. It has an elevation of 1,723 m (5,653 ft) AHD. Found on the west side of the Victorian Alps (part of the Australian Alps and the Great Dividing Range), the top of the mountain has granite boulders and rock formations.

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Jacques-Yves Cousteau

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